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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Releases > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Fact Sheets > 2003
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs
Washington, DC
July 2, 2003

United States Humanitarian Demining Programs in Latin America

The U.S. Governmentís Humanitarian Demining Program seeks to relieve human suffering while promoting U.S. interests. The Programís objectives are to reduce civilian casualties; create conditions for the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes; reinforce an affected countryís stability; and encourage international cooperation and participation. The Program seeks to accomplish these objectives by supporting a wide range of mine action initiatives including mine risk education (MRE); training and equipping indigenous personnel; landmine survey; and mine/unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance operations in mine-affected nations. Since FY 1993, the United States has committed over $700 million to global mine action initiatives, including research and development.


Since FY 1993, the United States has contributed more than $21,641,000 for humanitarian mine action in Latin America, primarily to the Organization of American States/Inter-American Defense Board (OAS/IADB). This amount includes some $2,011,000 contributed in FY 2003.


  • U.S. assistance has helped Nicaragua become an example of one of the most successful humanitarian mine action programs in the Western Hemisphere.
  • U.S. assistance has funded the training of more than 350 Nicaraguan deminers, the purchase of demining equipment, including mine detecting dogs (MDDs), the conduct of MRE campaigns, and the provision of survivor assistance, including rehabilitation training.
  • Nicaraguan deminers have destroyed approximately 70,000 landmines while clearing more than 2,149,772 sq. m of land, including the territory of 24 municipalities and 168 km of international borders.
  • USAIDís Leahy War Victims Fund supports the Central American Triparite Landmine Initiative, providing comprehensive assistance to rehabilitate people with disabilities, including landmine survivors.

Costa Rica

  • U.S. funds enabled Costa Rica to receive mine clearance training, purchase mine detection equipment and MDDs, enhance medical evacuation capabilities, establish a communications base, and receive survivor assistance, including medical supplies.
  • Ministry of Public Safety personnel have cleared more than 100,000 sq. m of land, destroying more than 330 landmines.
  • The United States completed its assistance to Costa Rica in July 2001 after the country reached the sustainment phase in its humanitarian demining program.
  • Costa Rica reached mine-safe status in December 2002.


  • U.S. assistance has helped fund a MRE campaign, mine clearance training, and mine clearance operations.
  • USAID, in a combined effort with the Pan-American Health Organization, has provided funds to improve the physical, social, and economic status of people in Central America coping with landmine injuries and other disabilities.
  • U.S. support has helped Guatemala clear more than 8,630 sq. m of land, restoring much of it to productive use, while destroying more than 160 landmines and approximately 300 pieces of UXO.
  • The U.S. continues to support the Government of Guatemalaís goal of becoming mine-safe by 2005.


  • U.S. assistance has supported mine clearance training and operations, including the use of MDDs. Multi-national teams in partnership with the OAS/IADB supervise Latin American Deminers.
  • USAID, in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization, is funding short- and medium-term technical training to landmine survivors.
  • Honduran deminers have cleared over nine minefields, approximately 431,000 sq. m in area, destroying more than 2,200 landmines and several hundred pieces of UXO.
  • The U.S. continues to support the Government of Hondurasís goal of becoming mine-safe by 2004.

Peru and Ecuador

  • Since 1999, the U.S. has contributed more than $9,800,000 to Ecuador and Peru to support humanitarian mine action. This amount includes $1,000,000 to Ecuador and $700,000 to Peru in FY 2002.
  • U.S. military personnel have trained more than 750 Peruvian and Ecuadorian Army soldiers in basic demining techniques and have advised the Government of Peru in MRE programs and mine action management procedures.
  • In 2001, both countries became members in the OAS Mine Action Program, whose primary purpose is to ensure priority is given to the destruction of landmines that endanger civilians.
  • U.S. assistance has supported the clearance of over 30,000 sq. m in Peru and 16,558 sq. m in Ecuador and destroying over 16,000 mines/UXO.
  • U.S. military personnel have also assisted Peru and Ecuador to set up Regional Mine Action Centers.

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